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Poster: Marnuse Date: Apr 16, 2005 7:05am
Forum: movies Subject: Screen Tests & Outtakes : Copyright status?

I know that trailers up to a certain date (1964?) are in the public domain, because their copyright was never renewed.

Does anybody have an idea of the copyright status of screen tests and outtakes of old films ? These were never copyrighted to begin with.

Do they get granted a new copyright protection when they are published on DVD, since this is their "first publication"?

I am talking of old screentests like the Selznick ones for "Rebecca", Judy Garland's "Valley of the Dolls" tests, etc. Many of these have been floating around for years - is their legality a murky mess?

Your insights would be appreciated.

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Poster: FP Date: Apr 17, 2005 7:45am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Screen Tests & Outtakes : Copyright status?

It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm just poking around the web, so I'll offer a guess:
Their legality is a murky mess.

While a certain piece of film may be technically copyright-free, that status does not necessarily carry over to individual component parts of that piece. Music, celebrity likenesses, and original scripts from which any screen test may be derived can all carry individual copyrights.

It's best to be careful. Usually the visuals alone of a Prelinger offering, those that feature no famous celebrities and no obvious trademarks, are safe to use anywhere.